As mentioned in an earlier blog entry, the plan was a simple one involving two of the Society’s favourite pastimes, riding bikes and drinking beer. It was important that the ride was a something out of the ordinary; long enough to ensure that the post ride beer was well earned. A metric century was the obvious choice, striking the perfect balance between kilometres covered and pints consumed.
For a variety of reasons we couldn’t actually ride on the Solstice itself, so we settled for Tuesday 19th. Initially it was looking like a strong turn out, but the small matter of England Vs Ukraine put paid to that, so at V minutes to six, three of us rolled away from my place.
I’ve always found it a good tactic to split longer rides into sections, usually based on distances or places. But with an eye on the clock I decided to split this ride into hours. The main reason being that it would be a good way to monitor our progress, and to make sure we remained on track for being in the pub for 10.
The first hour passed without too much drama as we headed North from Shifnal and out towards Newport. Progress was reasonably swift but we were slightly behind schedule at the hour mark. Hour two saw us climb up towards Cheswardine before turning west toward what would be the halfway(ish) point of the ride, Wem. Some flatter roads meant that pace picked up and we passed 50km in just under 2 hours. We were back on target!
The third hour saw us enjoy the fast and flat roads that make riding in north Shropshire such a pleasurable experience, and we were well ahead of schedule as the light began to fade. Into the final hour and with less than 25 km to do things were looking good. However, as we passed through Lilleshall and onto the horribly draggy Abbey Road, Scott announced that he thought someone has fitted square chainrings to his Bianchi. One last withdrawal from the V-Bank was required. The pace dropped as we dragged ourselves up the final climb of the night, but once at the top, it was ‘sur la plaque’ for the final run into Shifnal.
10 o’clock passed as we went under the M54, and it was time for one last sprint for the imaginary finish line marked by the 30 speed limit sign as you enter Shifnal. Mart made full use of my slipstream and nipped by to steal the points by a wheel.
It was about 5 past ten as we sat down to enjoy a well earned beer. I really can’t think of a better way to mark the Solstice.